Mad Over Idols

Mad Over Idols

Jeremiah 50:38

A drought against her waters,
    that they may be dried up!
For it is a land of images,
    and they are mad over idols.

If you read the verses before and after this one (35 through 40), you’ll realize that Jeremiah is prophesying about the fall of Babylon because of their oppression of Israel.  But that’s not why I wrote down this verse.  I wrote it down because of the second half of the verse and how it is still relevant today. Continue reading

We Withhold From Ourselves

We Withhold From Ourselves

Matthew 13:10-15

The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:

“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

 

The Disciples of Christ asked why he was teaching the masses in parables, which for many, were difficult to understand.  They wondered why Christ did not tell all the followers and all the leaders of his coming, his purpose, and the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven. Continue reading

When Our Drink Is Gone

When Our Drink Is Gone

Hosea 4:18

When their drink is gone they give themselves to whoring, their rulers dearly love shame.

I knew what this meant to me when I first read it and wrote down the verse.  But I thought I would read what scholarly people think of it and compare my thoughts with theirs.

The scholars and theologians say this verse deals with the tribe of Ephraim, one of the twelve tribes of Israel, that has become a bunch of drunks, alcoholics, the people along with their leaders.

That may be true for the times this book was written but here is my modern day assessment of this verse.

Society today loves its “feel good”. Continue reading

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Where Does Salvation Lie?

Isaiah 44:9-20

All who fashion idols are nothing, and the things they delight in do not profit. Their witnesses neither see nor know, that they may be put to shame. Who fashions a god or casts an idol that is profitable for nothing?  Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.

The ironsmith takes a cutting tool and works it over the coals. He fashions it with hammers and works it with his strong arm. He becomes hungry, and his strength fails; he drinks no water and is faint.  The carpenter stretches a line; he marks it out with a pencil. He shapes it with planes and marks it with a compass. He shapes it into the figure of a man, with the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house.  He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.  Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!”

They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand.  No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?”  He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?”

The English Standard Version of the Bible titles these verses: The Folly of Idolatry”.

Isaiah speaks of how we take man-made objects and give them powers they do not possess.  We turn them into false gods that meet our human expectations.  We do this today just as it was done in the time of Isaiah.  It is done within the conventional organized religions, where symbols are professed to deliver us from evil.  And there are those who claim that some man-made objects can possess evil powers.  These are obvious examples of idolatry.  But many of us fall to the folly of idolatry in a more subtle manner. Continue reading

The Heart Can Be Deceitful

The Heart Can Be Deceitful

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?

Jeremiah is talking about how we try to rationalize away our sins.  He is speaking of man’s heart.  A heart that is filled with worldly desires.  A heart that he talks about in Jeremiah 17:5:

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
    and makes flesh his strength,
    whose heart turns away from the Lord.

A heart that trust man, one that draws strength from flesh.  A heart that is filled with desires of the flesh cannot be filled with the Lord. Continue reading

Lift The Yoke

Lift The Yoke

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

This verse follows the verses that I wrote about in a previous post, These Things Are For Children.   In that post I wrote about the Kingdom of God being in our hearts, and how the world comes along and fills our hearts with worldly things.  We then allow these things to push out the Kingdom of God.  Once this is done we burden ourselves with worldly desires and these burdens wear us down.  Sometimes the burdens don’t allow us to realize the Kingdom of God was in our hearts and it is really still there if we just make the room for it.  Tragically, sometimes they wear us down to the point of denying the existence of God. Continue reading

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit

Romans 8:5

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

This verse caught my attention when I read it.  What made me stop and write it down was the paradigm shift I had when I read it.

I originally thought this verse to mean you think and act according to worldly wants and desires and you pay the price.  You think and act of God and you are saved.

I still believe that, but this time I saw an affirmation of my belief in the simplicity of life and God.  I saw the simplicity of getting your relationship with God and in doing so you are filled with the energy, the will, the Holy Spirit of God. Continue reading

Evil Lies In The Heart

Evil Lies In The Heart

Evil lies in the hearts of man.

Mark 7:21

Far from within, out of the heart of man comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery.

My wife purchased a unique wall decoration.  It was a mask with two faces, some ram horns and a rat on the forehead.  We didn’t have any idea what it was, what is was about or where it may have originated.  All we knew was that it was a unique piece.

So my wife decided to post a picture on Facebook to see if any of her “friends” had any idea what it was or where it came from.  She was looking for any information on the piece. Continue reading

Doing Good

Doing Good

1 Peter 3:17

For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

I read this verse and the first thing that came to mind was one of my favorite old sayings; “No good deed goes unpunished.”

There is no known origin for this phrase, although it’s been attributed to the likes of Billy Wilder, Andrew Mellon and Oscar Wilde. Continue reading

Treasures In Heaven

Treasures In Heaven

Matthew 6:19-21

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

My post, Living In Your Paneled House, dealt with the words of the prophet Haggai. He was addressing the people of Israel after their return from captivity in Babylon.  The Old Testament Book of Haggai starts by him admonishing the Jews for taking care of their personal homes while neglecting the rebuilding of the Lord’s temple.  Haggai was letting all people who hear his words know that they must take care of their spiritual house, which is our spiritual self, which is the house of the Lord. Continue reading